England

Like a Local: London’s 8 Best Brewery Tap Rooms

by Paul Stafford  |  Published May 26, 2017

Nothing beats a beer straight from the brewery tap. And these days it seems as though new and exciting beers hit the taps every week. Whether you’re a fan of Amarillo, Cascade or Chinook, the full range of hops – and therefore tastes – can be found in the tap rooms of London’s craft breweries.

A flight of beers at Brockley Brewery (Photo: Paul Stafford)

A flight of beers at Brockley Brewery (Photo: Paul Stafford)

While many of the bigger brands like BrewDog or Fullers already have well-known tap rooms, championing the up-and-comers is very much in the spirit of the craft movement. Therefore, this list has been restricted to some of the newer, independent brewery tap rooms in London.

Most tap rooms are only open on Fridays and Saturdays. That is because most of them are attached to working breweries. After all, somebody has to make the beer during the rest of the week. The best part however is that many of these spots have prices that take into account the lack of transportation costs, which means better beer at better prices. Naturally, you don’t need us to tell you to drink responsibly, but we will anyway…Please drink responsibly. Cheers.

Brockley Brewery – Open: Fridays and Saturdays

Brockley Brewery entrance (Photo: Helena Poole)

Brockley Brewery entrance (Photo: Helena Poole)

The tables are wedged between the mash tuns and fermenters used in the brewing process and the clientele is diverse and friendly at this rapidly growing brewery. Tucked away from the bustle of Brockley Road, Brockley Brewery’s seasonal beers are as exciting as the setting. The smoky summer draft is redolent of a back-yard barbecue. Not content with only impressive ales, their Brockley Lager is one of the best around, and perfect on a hot day. They have just received a licence for longer opening hours, so it’s worth checking their website for changes.

31 Harcourt Road, SE4

Beavertown – Open: Saturdays

Perhaps the most psychedelic of all the breweries on this list, and certainly one of the best for its rich tasting craft beers, Beavertown is a must try. The artwork on the cans and bottles is fantastic, but you can forego that for a fresh pint right out of the barrel and be surrounded by the real deal at their North London tap room. Neck Oil and Gamma Ray are two perennial favourites, while Bloody ‘Ell, a blood orange IPA brings in some seasonal citrus flavour. Oh, and the prices are as exceptional as the beer.

Units 17 & 18 Lockwood Industrial Park, N17

Howling Hops – Open: Every Day

Beer straight from the tank at Howling Hops (Photo: Eugenio Grosso)

Beer straight from the tank at Howling Hops (Photo: Eugenio Grosso)

Howling Hops puts on a well-polished tap room experience. The space is impressive, with taps seemingly right on the fermentation vats. For first timers, consider starting with one of their core range brews like their American style IPA, which is dry-hopped twice at different stages of fermentation. This gives the beer a complex fruity, hoppy nose and taste. Howling Hops have teamed up with Billy Smokes to offer barbecued meats and kebabs along with the beer.

Unit 9a Queen’s Yard, E9

Crate Brewery – Open: Every Day

Queen’s Yard seems to have become something of a craft beer mecca. Of the liberal sprinkle of small breweries here that have tap rooms open daily, Crate is one of the livelier spots. There are a range of spaces at Crate, some of which can be hired out for private events.  The rest of the time it’s a laid-back venue created from up-cycled materials (check out the old, rusty bedspring lampshades) to enjoy fresh beer and a homemade pizza.

Unit 7 Queen’s Yard, E9

Partizan Brewing – Open: Saturdays

Partizan brings a bit of class to the craft scene, right down to their brand artwork. Their core range includes the rich IPA and the lighter Lemongrass Saison, but it is through their seasonal  range that Partizan really stands out above the crowd. The Saison Kreik is a gorgeous cherry red, with a delicate dry and acidic taste. The DIPA Citra is a double IPA, with a strength to match.

8 Almond Road, SE16

Bullfinch Brewery – Open: Wednesday to Sunday

Bullfinch Brewery's tap room (Photo: Bullfinch Brewery)

Bullfinch Brewery’s tap room (Photo: Bullfinch Brewery)

Bullfinch has a great little taproom and generous opening hours. The seating is at beer garden-style wooden tables and the beer comes in pints or flights. A flight, common to most of these taprooms, is a great way to try a little of all the beers on offer, so that you can narrow in on your favourite for round two. Bullfinch do a superb signature pale ale flight, including their hoppy Rascal and the lighter Luna, which is somewhere between a lager and pale ale on the beer spectrum.

Units 886-887 Rosendale Road, SE24

Dragonfly Brewery – Open: Every Day

Located in the George & Dragon pub, Dragonfly Brewery’s tap room is essentially a bit of a cheat, but then again a microbrewery teaming up with a pub seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. The beer is worth it too, and takes a more traditional route than many of the craft breweries, with Weisse beer, stout and best bitter in their sudsy arsenal. Look out for their seasonal brews.

183 High Street, W3

Brew By Numbers – Open: Fridays and Saturdays

A little less formulaic than the name suggests, Brew By Numbers started on the side of a cliff in China when co-founders Tom and Dave met on a rock-climbing tour. Starting modestly, the business has expanded to offer a diverse portfolio of beers. It’s hard to keep count in fact. There are 26 categories of beer, including coffee porter, double IPA and Belgian blonde. Belgium is in fact quite an apt comparison, as the range is exhaustive, but the numbering system is a clever way to make things seem simpler, even after a couple.

79 Enid Street, SE16